God Eater 2: Rage Burst is a monster hunter-style action RPG that surprisingly has enough variety and tasks to keep you occupied for hours. This was my first time experiencing the franchise’s game and I am glad considering how satisfied I was with the gameplay.
Set three years after the events of the original God Eater Burst, you begin your journey as a newly qualified God Eater joining an elite squad known as Blood. For those that are unfamiliar with the game or anime, God Eaters are super-soldiers who wield powerful weapons known as God Arcs used to battle and destroy monsters known as Aragami. Thankfully you are able to dive into this game without any prior knowledge of the previous game’s events as a lengthy dialogue provides plenty of in depth information (although I was familiar with the anime beforehand).
Starting the game off, you are faced with your first serious decision: “what should my character look like?” The game is fantastic in giving you several options for customization of your own character including your voice, facial structure, and even several accessory options. The features available also allow you to go back and edit your character’s hairstyle and accessories later on, although you cannot change certain key aspects. This is useful in the event you find yourself tired of your cat ears and would much rather prefer to don devil horns. After the character creation, you are thrust head-first into a long introduction. Afterwards, you are directed through a lengthy process before you actually start feeling like you are playing the game.
The first few missions of the game do a very good job of explaining the basic controls and give you a sense of your weapon. There are 4 types of modes, my favorite of which included devour (this mode excited me more than it probably should have). Moreover, the cut scene’s art and flair draw you in to the thrilling fantasy of being a God Eater, despite the clichéd writing and mediocre voice acting.
The quality of the port from handheld to PC make the graphical representations in the environment and textures seem overly basic, yet I am a fan of the designs. The sound through headset is also repetitive and sharp, especially when fighting against large hordes. The ambient music gets you in the monster hunter mindset so that you can really get into the groove of Aragami slaying.
For a game that seems to be very straightforward hack-and-slash combat, there is actually far more to the battle and combat than what meets the eye. First off, the game does not do a very good job of explaining the different weapons to you through the gameplay itself. Instead you need to access an archive that provides further details and combos. These details are important for maximizing your damage output or reducing the damage you take.
Second, the type of weapon class you choose influences your battle style, ranging from quick, light aerial attacks to slow, powerful overhead attacks. Combat is not just limited to melee however, you also have ranged gun attacks as well as a shield to block. That being said, I mainly ignored the shield.
Going further into the combat itself, as I’ve mentioned there is more to it than you’d first think and it’s phenomenal. The God Arc’s ability to be upgraded and augmented thereby creating dozens of play styles. This way, anyone can find something to suit their own style. The battles can range from close-quarters combat to evading and blasting the monsters with ranged weapons. I found that the latter method will take a chunk of health from the Aragami.
Fortunately, the variety of Aragami and their own distinct attacks keeps the combat fresh. It makes each encounter unique even when you’ve already fought in the same location for the thousandth time. Additionally, each Aragami has their own weaknesses and resistances, as well as powerful attacks enticing you to create a specific loadout each time in order to focus on their weaknesses or buffing your own resistances. This enables you to be the damage dealer of your team or be the fall back ranged support.
I did have some issues with the combat. One would be with the clunky inventory system; this occasionally results with you being a sitting duck while a Vajra is charging. I suppose the game tries to counteract this with the command system of your team (that being the ability to give instructions to either go on the offensive or to focus on defending). It seems rather simple, but if you learn how to do this in a more creative way, let me know.
Another qualm I have is that the maps are heavily reused. This would not be so much of a distraction if the design and structure were in more of an open world format. Another issue is if an Aragami decides to take an exclusive escape route, you may end up having your team “run” at a snail’s pace around an entire structure (which can take a considerable amount of time). This can be frustrating when compared to the Aragami’s giant leaps. Dealing with the escape can be simple but it takes some ammo conservation on your part; switch to your gun when the Aragami tries to escape and shoot it down. For those who have played Monster Hunter, this is not a new concept.
This isn’t just a game where you focus on your own character and build your resistances and abilities; you must upgrade your team members as well! At this point, repetition in the gameplay may start to feel like a grind as you dive into side-missions. These are worth it though, as the character missions and higher difficulty side missions drop rare materials. The skill and equipment building in the game is extensive, given all of the factors of weapon types, elemental damages, bullet types, upgrades, skills, and crafting materials. That being said, you will be fighting the same type of monsters and visiting the same locations throughout most of the game, should you choose to press on deeper into the game.
Overall, I’ve only been in single-player story mode. However, based upon other gameplay videos I’ve seen, the game increases its entertainment value through online gameplay. After all, if it’s not enough to be running around with a giant weapon, engaging giant monsters in dynamic combat, it’s that much more fun doing it with a friend – or strangers if that’s what you like. The controls are a bit difficult through PC however and although I’ve been powering through with my mouse and keyboard, I suggest using a controller for fluidity.
- Customization, customization, customization
- Fast-paced, straight-forward combat
- Wide variety of battle-styles and enemies
- Engaging story (despite certain clichés) with colorful characters and artistic cutscenes
- Excellent gameplay that you can extend for hundreds of hours
- Online gameplay is the real bread and butter (play with friends, not just NPCs)
- PC controls not fluid, recommend controller
- Steep learning curve
- Can feel like a bit of a grind and repetitive
- Voice acting could be a bit better
God Eater 2: Rage Burst
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Released: August 30, 2016 (NA/EU)
MSRP: $59.99 (PS4), $49.99 (PC), $39.99 (Vita)